Tag Archives: Parthians

More About Nisa

Today very little remains of the wall of the city that had 43 towers that enclosed the palace and temple. When Alexander the Great died in Babylon in 323 BC his central Asian empire fragmented. Parthia was part of the Seleucid empire however a local rebellion in 245 established the Parthian kingdom which established its capital in Nisa. During the next several centuries Parthia was on of the largest empires. In 65 BC they were at war with Rome and they defeated the Roman army however from then on their empire weakened with conflicts with nomadic tribes on their northern border. In 224 AD the Sassanid king Ardashir defeated the Parthian king.

The language of the Parthians was Aramaic. Over 200 ostraka were discovered with inscriptions. The museum houses the artifacts excavated at Nisa.

Read about the Parthians.



You can see the Greek influences on this Asian empire.
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This is ivory from India.

These are rhytons. (Click to enlarge the pictures and the signage).
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Introduction to Turkmenistan, Modern and Ancient

Note: Internet connections here seem inconsistent, so pictures will be posted on the blog as they can be transmitted.

Modern day Ashgabat was a total surprise. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Niyazov declared independence for Turkmenistan on October 27, 1993. He was declared president for life until his death in 2006 during which time the city underwent a remarkable transformation, some might say eccentric and unique transformation. All the new buildings would be lavishly faced with white Italian  marble, sparkling golden domes, extravagant fountains with large parks and wide boulevards. And the city is graced with his 12 meter high golden statue on the Arch of Neutrality. My tour guide said the the city is called Las Vegas not because of casinos but rather all these marble buildings are bathed at night with changing colors which offers a unique urbanscape at night.


This is an archeological model of ancient Nisa, the capital of the Parthian Empire.

The approach to the archeological site of Nisa with the Kopetdag mountains on the horizon which border northern Iran.

Turkmen-003717A reconstructed entrance into the complex that once had 43 towers and housed the palace and temple.

The gypsum on the wall to the left of the opening is original. The corridor was once covered with frescoes now housed in the museum.

Fresco fragments from the corridor